3 Tips for Delivering Your Best Work When You Feel Burned Out

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While we often get caught up in keeping up with quantity (making more calls, building more SKUs, working more hours, etc.) it is delivering high-quality work that is a surefire way to please clients and earn respect.

But if your headspace is clouded with a lengthy to-do list, an unrealistic deadline, or feelings of burnout, quality can fall by the wayside.

Prioritizing your well-being will allow you to show up as the peak version of yourself. The following are a few tips you should employ to improve your mental space and overall output.

Related: 6 Reasons You’re Burning Out — And How You Can Fix It

Take a break

There are only so many hours in the day and often, you may feel that, rather than taking a time out, the best option is to have another cup of coffee and push through. When you’re feeling stressed, a break of just five minutes can change the next five hours of your day.

Our brains produce enough energy to power a small light bulb, but if we don’t give them time to recharge, they will actually go into overdrive. This can lead to a loss of creativity, focus and lead to decision fatigue which results in poor choices. If you’re looking to deliver the highest quality work, pushing through that wall you’re hitting isn’t always the best option.

Take just a moment to meditate, read the news or take a walk. In the increasingly hybrid work world we live in, you can even be productive with personal chores: Empty the dishwasher, prep dinner or put in a load of laundry.

A quick break can improve brain function, restore motivation, critical thinking and creativity while helping you deliver your best work.

Related: 3 Tips for Founders Battling Burnout

Learn to say “no”

A good way to start setting boundaries is through one-on-one conversations with your supervisor. Keep him or her up to date with how busy you are, your planned vacation time, career goals and any unexpected personal issues. It’s essential to be your own advocate in these conversations because no one understands your life better than you do. By keeping your higher-up in the loop, you’ll have another person in your corner if you must decline an assignment.

When you are asked to take on a project, seriously evaluate your work and personal life when considering if you have the capacity to take on the challenge before agreeing to it. Biting off more than you can chew can lead to feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, which hurts focus, curbs productivity and negatively impacts results.

If you refuse, be sure to effectively communicate your reasons for doing so. Always provide alternative solutions, such as checking in with another colleague who may have time to assist.

Use your vacation time

Taking time to rest helps us to be more focused, energetic and brings a positive outlook to the office. One of the best ways to recharge is to use our vacation time.

It can be hard to find time to take personal time off when managing multiple projects and tight deadlines, but it’s important to do so. Studies show that using vacation time is key to reducing stress, improving mental health and boosting productivity while at work. Whether it’s a week off (and make sure it’s at least a week off, as a recent study, conducted by Club Wyndham, found that 43% of American workers polled claimed they didn’t start to relax until three days into their trip) or a single mental health date to catch up on personal matters, it’s in your company’s best interest for you to use your breaks.

And when you’re off, be sure to fully disconnect: Don’t check your emails and be sure not to stress about what you may be missing or what you have to tackle when you return.

Related: A Work-Life Balance is Nonsense. To Reach Your Goals, Follow Another Approach

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